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1 Person Can’t Wear 6 Hats in a Successful Software Project

If you think that hiring one programmer is the most cost-effective way to meet your company’s need for custom software, think again.  Programming is just one part of a software project, and good programmers don’t generally have the skills to perform the other tasks well.

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It’s easy to see why this is true when you think about the roles required for a successful software project.

Project Manager.   To ensure that a software project is completed on schedule and meets your requirements, you need a good project manager who will:

  • Develop project schedule.
  • Ensure schedule is being met.
  • Communicate with the development team and all stakeholders regarding project status, including identifying and overcoming obstacles to project success and handling requested changes.

Requirements Analyst.  The person who develops your requirements needs these abilities:

  • Listen to your explanation and quickly understand how your business works.
  • Understand how software can support your unique business process.
  • Communicate with you – verbally and in writing – about your business needs and the software.
  • Translate your business needs into screens and functions that can be modeled to show you how your system will work.
  • Translate your business needs into information the programmers can use to code your system.

System Architect.  The system architect understands your business needs, sees the big picture, and creates a technical blueprint for your system.  The architect enjoys challenge and likes figuring out new technologies and creating patterns others will follow.

Software Developer.   Software developers use the system architect’s methodology and plan to write code that brings to life the screens and functions defined in the requirements.  Developers tend to fall into two groups:

  • New development specialists:  these programmers figure out new methodologies and ways to use the tools to solve business problems.  They are innovators who thrive on solving complex problems and do not enjoy repetitive tasks.
  • Maintenance programming specialists:  these programmers excel in using proven methodologies and technologies to quickly and accurately complete the work required for a new system.  They enjoy the challenge of getting a system working reliably and predictably.

Software Tester.   Testers are willing to press every button, enter information into every field on a page, and clearly document the steps followed and results.  The person who writes the code should always test it before declaring it complete; however, final testing should be completed by someone other than the developer, who may not follow the same steps as a “real” user of the system.

Trainer.   The person who conducts the training should understand your system, have great communication skills, and be comfortable answering the many questions that come up during training classes.

How do you get new software without hiring full time employees for all these roles?

Contract with a proven software development firm and avoid paying permanent employees for each role on your software project team.  You get all the skills and pay only for the time you need; when the work is done, your cost ends.

If you choose to hire your own full time software developer to help create your new system and continue to maintain it, look for an experienced maintenance programmer who enjoys working with a familiar system, writing reports, and enhancing existing applications.

Adding an experienced software firm’s employees to your team:

  • Gives you access to each type of specialist only when you need them and avoids the cost of expensive full-time employees.
  • Shortens the timeline for completing your software by dividing the work.
  • Provides your in-house developer with resources to brainstorm solutions and collaborate on solving technical problems.

If you need new software, don’t expect one programmer to wear all the hats.  Get the skills your project deserves by teaming with a proven software development firm.

About DragonPoint.  Since 1988 DragonPoint has developed and supported custom software systems for businesses in the Orlando, Florida area and throughout the United States.  Our employees are US citizens, and we have a team member for every role in your software project.